Best Types of Grass for Home Lawns in Alabama

Governor's mansion in Montgomery, Alabama

Grass types best suited for Alabama lawns will thrive in the hot, humid summer and mild fall and spring. It will also have to adapt to the state’s winter weather, which can vary by several degrees depending on whether you’re in North, Central, or South Alabama. This article discusses the best types of grass in Alabama for home lawns and covers the best grass types for every part of the state.

Best warm-season grasses for Alabama

Warm-season grasses thrive in humid, hot climates and grow primarily in the summer. They flourish when air temperatures are between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and go dormant and turn brown when temperatures go below freezing.

Because these grass varieties prefer hot summers and mild winters, they are typically found in the southern regions of the United States. They are also found in the transition zone. Transition zone areas have climates that are conducive for growing both warm-season and cool-season grasses.

Warm-season grasses can grow anywhere in Alabama, and they’re the only good option anywhere south of Birmingham. The following five grass types are the best warm-season grasses for Alabama lawns. 


Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

Zoysiagrass has excellent traffic tolerance and adapts well to multiple soil types. Its deep root system helps it maintain moisture and grow well in high temperatures and droughts. However, it needs extra irrigation during extended periods of dryness. Fortunately, droughts are infrequent in Alabama. 

Zoysia also withstands cold weather well. Both its heat and cold tolerance make it one of the best types of grass for Alabama, particularly in the northern portion of the state. 

Zoysia’s slow growth habit is a plus for homeowners with low-maintenance preferences. Although its mowing height is as low as 1 to 2 inches, it grows so slowly that you won’t have to run the mower often. Be mindful that Zoysiagrass requires minimal fertilization, and too much fertilizer and watering will increase your lawn care tasks, as these activities cause the grass to grow faster and thatch to accumulate.

Zoysiagrass grows well in moderately shaded areas, but too much shade will cause the grass to thin. Partial shade is best. 

Zoysiagrass at a glance:

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High, but recovers slowly from damage
  • Maintenance needs: Low nitrogen fertilization requirements; prone to thatch build-up 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height between 1 and 2 inches.
  • Potential for disease: Good disease tolerance overall
  • Soil pH: 6-6.5
  • Soil type: Well-draining; some cultivars are more tolerant of a wide range of soils than others.
  • Other notes: Zoysiagrass is prone to some lawn diseases, namely dollar spot and large patch disease. Zoysia also has a few prominent pests, especially mole crickets and white grubs.

Grass Plug and Seed Options:
Zenith Zenith Grass Seeds (1/8 lb. of seeds)


Photo Credit: rawpixel | CC0

With Bermudagrass’s high heat tolerance, it’s no surprise this grass is the most common type used in Alabama lawns. It has great resilience in the hot summers full of sunshine. Bermudagrass loves the sun so much that when it doesn’t receive enough light, it protests. This grass tends to lose its color in the shade and does best in full sun. 

Bermudagrass is an excellent grass seed for Central and South Alabama, but it is not very cold-tolerant. The cultivar ‘Yukon’ has exceptional cold tolerance and is best for homeowners in North Alabama. 

Bermuda is one of the grass varieties that require a lot of maintenance. It grows quickly and needs frequent mowing and regular fertilization. Bermudagrass also accumulates thatch easily, meaning routine dethatching will typically be a must. It may be some consolation that it makes up for these high maintenance requirements with its excellent drought tolerance. Bermudagrass won’t require a lot of watering, so it’s a great choice for homes with no irrigation system. 

Bermudagrass at a glance:

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons and rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low; thrives in full sun
  • Drought tolerance: High 
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High 
  • Maintenance needs: Needs frequent mowing due to fast growth rate; develops thatch easily; needs regular fertilization 
  • Mowing height: Set the mowing height between 0.5 and 1.5 inches for hybrid Bermudagrass cultivars. Mow common Bermudagrass at 1.5 to 2.5 inches.
  • Potential for disease: Good resistance to disease, although diseases are common; low resistance to pest insects
  • Soil pH: 6-6.5
  • Soil type: Tolerates most soil types
  • Other notes: Do not mow too often, or you’ll expose the grass to increased weeds and pests. Mow 1 to 2 times a week for healthy roots.

Grass Seed Options:
Pennington Bermudagrass Bare Spot (5 lb. bag)
– Pennington Smart Seed Bermudagrass Mix (8.75-lb. bag)
Scotts Turf Builder Bermudagrass (10-lb. bag)
Hancock Seed Co. Bermudagrass (50-lb. bag)


Photo Credit: Forest and Kim Starr | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Bahiagrass requires minimal watering and fertilizer to grow and maintain its light green color. If you have sandy soil, you’ll be happy to know this grass type grows better in sandy soil than other grasses. To establish a lawn quickly, plant Bahiagrass from sod. This warm-season grass type has excellent heat and humidity tolerance.

Bahiagrass has low shade tolerance, but more than Bermuda. If your property does not get much sunlight and has low-fertility soil, Bahiagrass is a good choice. However, it needs to be cut frequently to remove the seed heads.

The durable cultivar ‘Pensacola’ is one of the best for hot Alabama summers. It is the most commonly planted variety across the state and throughout the United States. 

‘Pensacola’ is also one of the best Bahiagrass cultivars for the winter. It withstands frost better than common Bahia. ‘Pensacola’ can tolerate temperatures close to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter temperatures in Northern Alabama have gotten as cold as 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

‘Pensacola’ is also disease and pest-tolerant. Here are some other Bahiagrass varieties good for Alabama lawns:

  • Tifton 9
  • Argentine 
  • UF Riata
  • TifQuik

Bahiagrass at a glance:

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Low, but more shade-tolerant than Bermudagrass.
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low 
  • Maintenance needs: Low fertility requirements. Expect frequent mowing (every one to two weeks) to remove seed heads. 
  • Mowing height: Ideal grass height is 3 to 4 inches. 
  • Potential for disease: Good resistance to disease and insect infestations
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
  • Soil type: Performs well in sandy loam soils, but tolerates a wide range of soils, including soils with low fertility. 
  • Other notes: Bahia does not have significant insect problems, but it is vulnerable to mole crickets.Pensacola’ Bahia performs better in poor drainage conditions than other cultivars.

Grass Seed Options 
Pensacola Bahiagrass:
– Scotts Turf Builder Pensacola Bahiagrass (5 lb. bag)
SeedRanch Pensacola Bahiagrass Seed (10 lb. bag)
Hancock’s Pensacola Bahia Grass Seed – Coated – 5 lbs.
Argentine Bahiagrass:
Scotts Turf Builder Argentine Bahiagrass (10 lb. bag)


Photo Credit: Michael Rivera | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Centipedegrass is a great option for those wanting a healthy lawn without much work. It is slow-growing and grows close to the ground, so you won’t have to mow it often. Centipedegrass requires soil with a low pH to grow best, but it’s easy-going in other ways. 

It adapts to full sun or part shade, is drought-tolerant, and needs less lime or fertilizer than most other lawn grasses. Proper lawn care will result in minimal thatch development. Although centipedegrass produces seed heads, they can be mitigated with regular mowing. 

This grass is attractive to Alabama homeowners because it is low-maintenance and maintains its beautiful light color year-round. It is also a top choice because it takes fewer grass seeds to create a lush, dense lawn. 

Centipedegrass at a glance:

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate 
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Low (compared to other turfgrasses)
  • Mowing height: Set the mowing height between 1 and 2 inches.
  • Potential for disease: Good resistance to diseases and insects
  • Soil pH: 5-6
  • Soil type: Acidic, infertile, at least moderately good drainage (very dense, clay soils produce poor results)
  • Other notes: Too much nitrogen fertilization and overwatering can cause disease. Make sure you fertilize and water your lawn properly. 

Grass Seed Options:
Gulf Kist Coated Centipedegrass Seeds (1 lb.)
Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Centipedegrass (3.75 lbs.)
TifBlair Centipedegrass (5-lb. bag)
– Pennington Centipedegrass and Mulch (5-lb. bag)

St. Augustinegrass

Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 3.0

If your property is located in South Alabama and has a lot of shade, you’ll appreciate this grass type. St. Augustinegrass is the most shade-tolerant warm-season grass. Some cultivars grow well in either full sun or shade, like ‘Raleigh’ and ‘Palmetto.’ 

St. Augustine is one of the best grass seeds for establishing a new lawn quickly, as it grows fast. It’s also salt-tolerant, so it will hold up well in Gulf Coast lawns.

St. Augustine does not do well in cooler temperatures and recovers slowly when exposed to cold conditions. But it welcomes the heat, so it embraces hot Alabama summers.

This grass is only for homeowners who don’t mind yard work, as St. Augustine’s fast growth rate means it requires frequent mowing. It also needs frequent fertilizer applications and develops thatch easily, so regular dethatching is a must.

St. Augustinegrass at a glance: 

  • Classification: Warm-season grass
  • Spreads by: Stolons
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate. It is the most shade-tolerant warm-season grass. 
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Low
  • Maintenance needs: Needs frequent mowing due to fast growth rate; develops thatch easily; needs regular fertilization. 
  • Mowing height: Set the mowing height between 3.5 and 4 inches. 
  • Potential for disease: Moderate to high 
  • Soil pH: 6-7.5
  • Soil type: Tolerates many soil types; prefers moderately fertile and moist (not waterlogged) soils; doesn’t tolerate soil compaction
  • Other notes: Can have problems with grassy weeds. St. Augustine needs to be treated for its worst pest, chinch bugs, or they can cause significant damage.

Grass Plug Options:
Seed Ranch St Augustine Seville Grass Plugs (2 Trays)
Seed Ranch St Augustine Floratam Grass Plugs (2 Trays)

Best cool-season grasses for Alabama

Cool-season grasses grow best in the spring and fall. They go dormant in freezing temperatures, just like warm-season grasses. However, cool-season grasses go dormant later in the season. Contrary to their warm-weather counterparts, cool-season varieties can also go brown and dormant in the summer. 

These grass types thrive in cool, mild weather. They grow best when air temperatures are between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In Alabama, you can only grow cool-season grasses north of Birmingham. This northern portion of the state is in the transition zone, where both cool-season and warm-season grasses can grow successfully. 

Tall fescue 

Photo Credit: Matt Lavin | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Tall fescue is a North Alabama favorite because of its ability to remain green year-round. Its deep roots enable it to withstand cold temperatures. Although tall fescue is not as heat- and drought-tolerant as warm-season grasses, it is the most heat- and drought-tolerant cool-season grass. 

Nevertheless, tall fescue is still a cool-season grass, meaning it thrives best when temperatures are between 60 degrees and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. This grass will experience damage, like thinning, in dry and hot summers. The best way for Northern Alabama homeowners to mitigate the effects of the area’s summer weather is to overseed in the fall

Tall fescue prefers home lawns with full sun but will tolerate moderate shade. It is highly disease-tolerant and generates a full, thick lawn with minimal maintenance. For example, it requires minimal fertilization and does not produce significant thatch.

Tall fescue seeds are usually sold as mixtures of different varieties. Here are some varieties that are best for North Alabama:

  • Zion
  • Xanadu
  • Bonfire
  • Firenza II

Tall fescue at a glance: 

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Produces short rhizomes but has a bunch-type growth habit
  • Shade tolerance: Moderate
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate to High
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate
  • Maintenance needs: Frequent mowing. Does not produce significant thatch. 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height to 2 inches when grass reaches 3 inches tall.  
  • Potential for disease: Tolerant of most diseases when properly maintained. 
  • Soil pH: 5.5-6.5
  • Soil type: Adapted to a wide range of soil conditions but prefers fertile clay soils with good drainage. 
  • Other notes: To produce a thriving and attractive lawn, use turf-type tall fescue grass seed. Forage-type varieties do not produce quality lawns.

Grass Seed Options:
Triple-Play Tall Fescue Grass Seed Blend (5000 sq ft)
Eretz Kentucky 31 K31 Tall Fescue Grass Seed (choose your size)
Pennington The Rebels Tall Fescue Grass Seed Mix (7 lb.)

Perennial ryegrass 

Photo Credit: T. Kebert | Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’ve ever noticed how healthy the dark grass on Alabama athletic fields looks, you were probably admiring perennial ryegrass. These fields and even home lawns are overseeded with perennial rye because it remains lush, maintaining its green color when warm-season grasses, like Bermudagrass, go dormant and turn brown. 

On the other hand, perennial ryegrass has low heat tolerance. It will struggle in higher temperatures. This grass type is better suited for North Alabama.

Perennial ryegrass needs well-drained soil and is not as drought-tolerant as other cool-season grasses. Its advantages are that it establishes quickly and mixes well with other grasses. It’s a great choice if you have damaged grass or need to fill bare spots. Keep in mind that perennial rye has an aggressive growth habit and outcompetes other grasses. When planting a grass seed mix, use no more than 20% perennial ryegrass.

Perennial ryegrass at a glance: 

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Has a bunch-type growth habit
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Foot traffic tolerance: High
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate mowing and fertilization requirements. Thatch is not significant. 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height to 1.5 to 2.5 inches
  • Potential for disease: High. Common diseases include gray leaf spot, red thread, and leaf spot/melting-out. 
  • Soil pH: Can grow in soils with a pH between 5 and 8 but prefers between 6 and 7. 
  • Soil type: Prefers good drainage and fertility, but can tolerate some poor drainage. 
  • Other notes: To make your lawn more disease and traffic-tolerant, mix perennial ryegrass with Kentucky bluegrass. 

Grass Seed Options:
Outsidepride Perennial Ryegrass Seed (5 lbs.)
Eretz ProTurf Perennial Ryegrass Fine Lawn Seed (choose your size)

Kentucky bluegrass 

green color medium size kentucky blue grass
Photo Credit: Ferran Pestaña | Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Kentucky bluegrass (aka KBG) is not the best choice for Alabama due to the state’s hot and humid climate. This grass type will struggle in the heat. But it is, nevertheless, a popular choice because it establishes lush, dense lawns. Because of this and its excellent cold tolerance, it can be used in upper Nothern Alabama. Do not plant it elsewhere in the state.

Kentucky bluegrass has a dark green color, like perennial ryegrass, so the two mix well if you want to maintain a consistent look and create a stronger lawn. KBG also quickly fills in bald patches after a lawn is established. Another advantage of this grass type is that it prevents erosion

Kentucky bluegrass has high maintenance requirements, like needing frequent fertilizing and being prone to several diseases. But combining it with perennial ryegrass will make the lawn more resilient.

KBG at a glance:

  • Classification: Cool-season grass
  • Spreads by: Rhizomes
  • Shade tolerance: Low
  • Drought tolerance: Moderate
  • Foot traffic tolerance: Moderate
  • Maintenance needs: Moderate mowing frequency and high fertilization needs. 
  • Mowing height: Set mowing height between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. 
  • Potential for disease: Moderate to high; prone to several diseases, such as dollar spot, leaf spot, necrotic ring spot, summer patch, and stripe smut. 
  • Soil pH: 6-7.5
  • Soil type: Performs best in well-drained, heavy soils with high fertility. 
  • Other notes: It is best to use less aggressive cultivars when combining KBG with tall fescue. ‘Caliber’ and ‘Northstar’ perform well with minimal watering and low maintenance.

Grass Seed Options:
Jonathan Green (11970) Blue Panther Kentucky Bluegrass Grass Seed (3 lbs.)
SeedRanch Midnight Kentucky Bluegrass Seed (5 lbs.)

Best grass for North Alabama

North Alabama is in the USDA hardiness zones 7a and 7b, meaning the area’s coldest average winter temperatures drop between 0 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The best types of grass will be those that can withstand these temperatures as well as hot summers. Cold and warm-season grasses are best for North Alabama since this region of the state is in the transition zone.

The best grass varieties for North Alabama include:  

  • Tall fescue (Cultivars: ‘Zion,’ ‘Xanadu,’ ‘Bonfire,’ ‘Firenza II’)
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • ‘Pensacola’ Bahiagrass
  • Zoysiagrass 
  • ‘Yukon’ Bermudagrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass

Best grass for Central Alabama

Central Alabama is concentrated more in hardiness zone 7b, with a few counties dipping into zone 8a. The average coldest winter temperatures range from 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. The best types of grass for this region do not need as much cold hardiness as those in the north.

Central Alabama falls in the warm-season grass zone, so only warm-season grasses will thrive here. The best options are:

  • Zoysiagrass 
  • Bermudagrass 
  • Centipedegrass

Best grass for South Alabama

South Alabama has the warmest average winter temperatures, with some areas only getting as cold as 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This warmer area needs grass varieties that thrive in hot summers and mild winters. Grass that adapts to the salt and cool breeze from the Gulf of Mexico is also ideal for this region.

Here are some great choices for South Alabama:

  • Bermudagrass 
  • Centipedegrass 
  • St. Augustinegrass
  • Zoysiagrass 

FAQ about Alabama grass types

When is the best time to plant grass seed in Alabama?

The best time to plant grass seed in Alabama is between early spring and mid-fall. Plant as early as mid-February and as late as October. Just be sure not to plant during cold spells or frosts. Fall is the ideal time for North Alabama homeowners to plant cool-season grasses.

What grass is best for lawns with high traffic?

Perennial ryegrass and Bermudagrass are the most foot-traffic-tolerant grasses for Alabama.

Zoysiagrass has high foot traffic tolerance, but it recovers slowly from damage. Tall fescue is the next best grass for lawns with a lot of physical activity; fescue has moderate to high traffic tolerance.

What grass is best for xeriscaped yards in Alabama?

Xeriscaping conserves water by using and replacing most if not all of the grass with drought-tolerant plants and other water-wise materials. The most drought-tolerant warm-season grass for Alabama is Bermudagrass. The most drought-tolerant cool-season grass is tall fescue.  

Xeriscaping is just one landscape design that can make your yard stand out. For more ideas, check out our landscaping ideas for Alabama homeowners. 

Which is the best grass for a lawn with a lot of shade?

St. Augustinegrass is the most shade-tolerant warm-season grass. Some of the more shade-resistant cultivars are ‘Floratam,’ ‘ProVista,’ and ‘Bitterblue.’

What grass type has the lowest maintenance requirements?

Centipedegrass has the lowest maintenance requirements. Bahiagrass and Zoysiagrass are also low maintenance in comparison to other turfgrasses. 

Low-maintenance grass and other plants not only save you time and money, but they can also conserve water and support the ecosystem. Alabama native plants are your best bet for the most low-maintenance options. You can also check out our list of low-maintenance plants for Alabama landscapes. 

How to choose the best turfgrass for Alabama

These eight types of cool-season and warm-season grasses are the best grass varieties for Alabama. When choosing the grass that is best for you, consider more than your location in the state. Base your selection on your yard’s characteristics, maintenance preferences, and foot traffic. Here are some things to consider:

  • Your yard’s characteristics: How sunny or shady is your yard? Is light exposure consistent in different sections of your property? If not, you may need a grass type that adapts to both partial shade and full sun. What type of soil do you have and how is drainage? Also, familiarize yourself with the soil pH level. Choose a grass type that thrives in whatever type of soil your yard naturally has. 
  • Foot traffic: Do you anticipate games of hide and seek, summer barbecues, and other outdoor activities taking place on your lawn? Choose a grass that can tolerate high foot traffic if this sounds like your lifestyle. You may also want a grass that recovers quickly from foot traffic.
  • Maintenance: Some grass types require high maintenance overall. Other grass varieties may need more upkeep in one area than another. For example, the grass may need frequent fertilization but not much dethatching, or vice versa. Let these maintenance criteria drive your grass selection. If you enjoy lawn care chores, you might want a high-effort, high-reward grass type like Bermuda or Kentucky bluegrass. If you prefer to stay out of the lawn as much as possible, low-maintenance centipedegrass might be best for you. 

If you really hate yard care chores, let Lawn Love help. Whether you’re in Huntsville, Birmingham, Mobile, or anywhere else in the Heart of Dixie, Lawn Love can connect you with local Alabama lawn care professionals who can plant your new lawn and maintain it for you with services like mowing, fertilization, and weed control.

Lawn Love participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. Lawn Love may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

Main Photo Credit: traveler1116 | Canva Pro | License

LaShonda Tucker

LaShonda Tucker’s passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle through organic herbs, fruits, and veggies leads her to research and learn about plants and insects. She loves sharing her knowledge to help others achieve their lawn care and landscaping goals.